The surge of great rock bands streaming out of Northern California continues with this quartet. 2 Over Ten, recorded in Memphis, is the Cuts' second album. It's a stunning collection showcasing the band's immense melodic gifts with a range of fine tunes like the effervescent opener, "How Can I Get Through," a song that reeks of the bygone days of AM-radio glory. Ditto for the stunning "Paradise." The great thing about the Cuts is, for all their delightful tunefulness, they pound away in a nonwimpy manner that makes them a genuine rock band. In the former tune, celestial keyboards create a hypnotic figurine upon which the song's chiming guitar chords and sparkling chorus can rest. The Cuts might be the best exemplars of this kind of tuneful dynamic since the late '70s heyday of such artists as Nick Lowe, Talking Heads, and the Shoes.
"Electric Nite" is a rollicking rocker that once again highlights chiming chords and rolling keyboards. "Didn't Live Enough" could've come off The Who By Numbers, complete with a Nicky Hopkins-style piano solo. While lead singer Andy Jordan sounds at times like Television's Tom Verlaine, there's also an occasional resemblance to the Strokes' Julian Casablancas ("Dreams"). Indeed, the Cuts could easily meet with the same kind of mass appeal. Like the Strokes, the band isn't afraid to temper sweet melodies with insidious lyrical deviations like: "What can I do except for cry into my pillow every night/That's what you'd like to think/It ain't true, my child, I want you dead/By poisoning your drink." No matter how you slice it, these Cuts run deep.